Vic health startups accelerated as state sector grows

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Artificial intelligence and virtual reality startups are among the new cohort of a Victorian government-backed digital health accelerator, as the sector becomes a bigger part of the state’s innovation system.

Digital health commercialisation firm ANDHealth on Wednesday revealed the 15 local startups in its ACTIVATE accelerator, which is run in partnership with state agency LaunchVic.

The program, now in its second year, targets high growth potential Victoria-based digital and digitally enabled medical technology companies at or near the proof-of-concept stage.

ANDHealth managing director and chief executive Bronwyn Le Grice

“As Australia’s leading destination for health and medical research, the Victorian government’s support of the state’s nascent, but fast-growing, digital health sector is critical to its ongoing international competitiveness in health technology development and commercialisation,” ANDHealth CEO and Managing Director Bronwyn Le Grice said.

“The Activate program, now in its second year, has proven itself as an accelerator of growth for high potential digital health companies, with the first cohort reporting over $20 million in funds raised, $2.9 million in new revenues, 20 new jobs and over 25,000 patients impacted in less than a year.”

The Victorian Biotech and MedTech sectors are now the State’s largest start-up capital investment, valued at $180 million within the $100 billion Victorian startup sector, according to LaunchVic’s 2023 startup ecosystem report.

“HealthTech is Victoria’s joint-largest startup subsector. To ensure the continued growth of the sector, we’re proud to have backed ANDHealth to give founders access to mentors, subject matter experts and potential investors with deep knowledge of their chosen fields,” LaunchVic chief executive Dr Kate Cornick said.

“It’s our hope that this will fast track their path to market and support the development of home-grown digital health solutions that can help save lives.”

The 15 companies selected for the 2024 ACTIVATE program are:

  • AugmentHealth: a digital platform that addresses the complexities of clinical decision-making across various medical disciplines, helping healthcare providers to optimise treatment outcomes.
  • Flintworks: a clinical-grade, virtual reality therapy platform for complex mental health disorders, starting with PTSD. Therapists place their patients in precision-personalised, therapeutic 3D environments that increase treatment effectiveness and reduce patient discomfort
  • Healio: a patient-centric mHealth platform to digitally engage and support patients, enabling them to become active participants in their healthcare journey
  • Hindsyt: radiation therapy that uses mixed reality technology to enhance treatment precision and efficiency
  • InflaMed: builds accessible and intuitive digital solutions to enhance healthcare for chronic conditions. InflaMed’s focus is on seamless integration and user-centered design, fostering better communication and care for patients and health professionals alike, beginning with a bespoke iOS application for the Atopic Triad
  • Kali Healthcare: a digital health platform for pregnancy monitoring. A Wearable device and smartphone application which provides real-time monitoring data to clinicians outside of the hospital setting, solving the problem of still birth
  • Kynetyka Technologies: a digital health company developing DVTect, the easy early screen for Deep Vein Thrombosis. DVTect is a sensor plus app which enables bedside point-of-care detection of DVT saving money and saving lives
  • a digital health company based in Melbourne specialising in developing artificial intelligence solutions aimed at transforming healthcare operations
  • mAIscribe: Medical AI Scribe is built by doctors for doctors to create freedom from the administrative burden of care
  • MoreGoodDays: democratising access to the most effective chronic pain management and recovery treatments. The model features a comprehensive digital program delivered through an app, complemented by virtual consultations and mentoring
  • Medlo: connecting doctors and hospitals, anywhere, anytime. Starting by building the workforce, Medlo aims to slowly move into a hybrid model of telehealth
  • Misti: its nebulizer mask is a low-cost, validated rapid lung delivery system to deliver life-saving biomolecules that will help respond quickly and productively to both current and emerging infectious respiratory diseases in children and older adults
  • Sleepfit Solutions: uses evidence-based digital solutions to help people get the sleep they need to achieve optimal rest and perform at their best
  • Umps Health: behind Umps Link, a smart home platform that marries real-time data from sensors, AI-generated insights and 24 x 7 monitoring by trained operators, enabling a suite of proactive, remote care interventions to keep people safe, well and independent at home
  • WeRoster: a smart cloud based clinical allocations system used by hospitals to roster their staff

A further injection of health capital looms through the federal government’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, which will soon reveal its first investment’s.

A medical science co-investment guide for the fund and industry released last month flags high-value, innovative, complex therapeutics, devices and cutting-edge digital health solutions as areas ripe for investment.

LaunchVic’s support for the state also became more certain on Wednesday with a fresh $40 million budget allocation.

The startup agency was originally founded in 2016 to oversee the state’s $60 million innovation fund. It has since received several additional funding commitments, including $10 million in the 2019-20 budget and $40 million in the 2020-21 budget, as part of a widening remit.

The state’s venture capital fund Breakthrough Victoria took a hit in Wednesday’s budget, however.

The Allan government opted to strip $360 million from its venture capital fund and extend the investment horizon from 10 to 15 years, asking the fund to make more “quality investments” amid a changing market.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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